Saturday, June 11, 2016

Margaret Jessop: Celebrating Distinction -- and Distinctive -- Quilting Art

Quilts hanging on the Wainright Hotel,
Heritage Park, Calgary, Alberta - May 28-29, 2016

This year marked the twenty-first annual Festival of Quilts at Heritage Park in Calgary, AB, held at the Park on May 28-29.

Part of the Festival's history and tradition is the selection of a Quilter of Distinction, often in keeping with the theme of the given year.

This year's theme was "Hearth, Home and Community"...and the Quilter of Distinction was SAQA member Margaret Jessop of Calgary.

Introducing Quilter of Distinction 2016,
Margaret Jessop

The piece to Margaret's immediate right in the photo is, in her words, "...a self-portrait of me in 1990 - I'm holding the baby and there's silhouettes of the other 3, ages 2, 4 & 6."

When I spoke with Margaret about the award on my visit to Calgary in early April, she told me she was very nervous about the event, and wasn't sure the visitors to the Quilt Festival "would like it"...because, as far as one can tell, Margaret is the first QoD who has so few bed quilts in her repertoire.

From the look on her face, though, I think she and her work were well received by all in attendance!

In this year's brochure, the Quilt Festival wrote this about selecting Margaret for this honour:

"It is with great excitement that the 2016 Festival of Quilts welcomes Margaret Jessop as the Quilter of Distinction. Margaret is an acclaimed quilter, winning awards from International, National, Provincial and Municipal quilt groups. Some of these awards have been presented by the Canadian Quilt Association and International Quilt Festival.
"Along with her amazing talent, Margaret also gives so much of her time and talent to charities. Her quilts have been auctioned off for charitable causes and she has volunteered with the Heritage Park Festival of Quilts and Quilt Canada. With this year’s theme of Hearth, Home and Community, there is no one better than Margaret to showcase the importance of all three. Margaret has had to overcome obstacles such as losing her studio to the 2013 floods and the losses of her daughter and mother in 2014.
"Through all of that, her artistic self remained steadfast and she has continued to create beautiful pieces of art. Margaret’s journey into the fabric art/quilting world began over 30 years ago. Her first quilt was for her four year-old daughter. Margaret took a course from Dianne Sutton and made the quilt. From there she was hooked. Now she has close to 250 quilts to her credit, most of which are art quilts.
"It is evident when looking at her work that she is inspired by personal experience, and she leans toward familiar subject, people and surroundings. Some of her most memorable pieces include portraits of her children, and the landscapes of her favourite places.
"Moving forward, Margaret says her challenges are to create original fabric work influenced by fine art and craft knowledge, and to continue working full time in her home studio.
"Margaret has successfully been the student, teacher, wife, mother and inspirational artist to those in the quilting community. She has fully committed herself to her art form, which is evident with her involvement with four different guilds, becoming an ACAD* graduate, quilting in her own studio and still finding time to quilt for charity. In her own words, 'My work makes me happy and I’m sure I will spend the rest of my life exploring new techniques and ideas.' The Festival of Quilts hopes this honour gives credit to her body of work thus far and we will continue to watch for what is new in the future of her quilting legacy."
*Alberta College of Art and Design

And now, a retrospective of some of her work, for your enjoyment:

A Carolina Patchwork pattern

Moving more into her own creations...

Margaret talks about her work

Behind her (clockwise from left, above): "Dream Tree", "Ode to Emily Carr", "Caste Mountain" and "Heart of the Rockies".

"Mirror Lake" - inspired by Group of Seven
painter, Frank Carmichael

A series of family and other portraits

Dale the Woodworker -- with his portrait

Anna -- with her portrait

It's clear that in addition to the inspiration of her family and her Alberta home -- in the Foothills of the Canadian Rockies, Margaret enjoys working with colour, and has a real sense of whimsy...such as is found in her "Catfish" series:


Congratulations on your award, Margaret!  I'm sure your SAQA colleagues will join me in wishing you many more years of creativity and enjoyment -- and we thank you for sharing your work with us.

Margaret with her award

Photo credits -- with thanks -- Marie McEachern and the artist herself.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this article - brings back great memories